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Another myth of the Mayas

It was a good story while it lasted: A 15-year-old boy discovered a lost city by theorizing that a modern star map would correlate with ancient Maya settlements. It seemed to fit the common understanding of the Maya as peaceful stargazers, centuries ahead of their time in astronomical observation and deeply mystical. It only makes sense they’d plan their cities to align with constellations.

Meet the Libertarians

Get over it, #NeverTrumpers. No amount of praying for a political unicorn to inhabit Bill Kristol’s www.renegadeparty.com can overcome the cruel logic of the electoral calendar, with its expired filing deadlines and hopelessly uphill signature-gathering requirements. There’s only one non-Republican or Democratic entity likely to be on the ballot in all 50 states come November, and that’s the Libertarian Party, which selects its presidential nominee in Orlando next weekend.

RedBlueAmerica: Is the Democratic Party just as troubled as the GOP?

The contest to be the Democratic presidential nominee hit an ugly new low last weekend, when Nevada supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders reportedly threw chairs and made threats against a senior state party official after 64 Sanders delegates were disqualified at the state convention. Sanders said he does not support violence, but there are now worries the party’s convention in Philadelphia could face similar incidents.

Why students need algebra

In his recent book, “The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions,” political scientist Andrew Hacker argues, among other things, that we should not require high school students to take algebra.

Doyle McManus: Forecasting in the age of Trump

Ray Fair of Yale University says that if his election-forecasting model is correct, the Republican nominee is likely to win the presidency by a convincing margin. John Sides of George Washington University agrees; the “fundamentals,” he says, give the Republican about a 60 percent chance of winning. Alan Abramowitz of Emory University gives Republicans a solid shot at the White House too; his model gives the GOP the edge — but in “a very close election.”

Vegans bite the hand that feeds

If Steve Martin made a reboot of “L.A. Story,” the 1991 send-up of the city’s cultural absurdities, there would have to be a scene at Cafe Gratitude. The mini-chain of vegan restaurants offers patrons sandwiches on gluten-free amaranth and millet buns, a $25 probiotic shot, and an array of entrees and smoothies with names that are already parodies of themselves. On my first visit to one location, I felt silly ordering I Am Incredible, a smoothie made with kale, coconut milk, hempseeds, almond butter, maca, banana and vanilla bean. The server returned with the concoction, placed it before me, and said, “You Are Incredible” as he looked earnestly into my eyes.
 

Older women need not apply

An aging population, coupled with low employment rates among Americans older than 62, poses severe challenges to the long-term sustainability of Social Security. Numerous reforms have been proposed to extend their working lives, including raising the retirement age. Such reforms may be unlikely to gain traction — not because people are so eager to retire, but because age discrimination sharply limits job opportunities.

Why influence isn’t corruption

Despite Bernie Sanders’ repeated accusations, there’s no real evidence that Hillary Clinton has been corrupted by large campaign contributions. But that’s not to say donors haven’t influenced her thinking and priorities. Lodged in the gap between Sanders’ attacks and Clinton’s rejoinders lies the truth about big money in politics.

Lack of political will strains space program

Last week, China announced that it plans to land a rover on Mars by 2020. The Russian Federal Space Agency is working with the European Space Agency. Every major power in the world has some form of interest in Mars. Like 1961, when Russia first rocketed Yuri Gagarin into orbit and the U.S. was afraid that Russians would beat us with the first actual man on the Moon, the race is on.

Andrew Gumbel — Voter ID hurdles

Molly McGrath is laser-focused on a job no advanced democratic society ought to require: Making sure properly registered voters do not lose their right to cast a ballot on election day because of new, stringent ID requirements they may not even know exist.

Doyle McManus: Trump learning how to be strategic candidate

Donald Trump’s victory in his native New York on Tuesday was huge, as the candidate would say. Next week’s primaries in five other East Coast states will probably be good for Trump, too. From Connecticut to Pennsylvania and Maryland, “New York values” aren’t an epithet; it’s Trump’s main rival, Ted Cruz, who stands out as something of an alien being.